ATTEMPTS to amend gay marriage legislation to provide further protections for those who are opposed to it on religious grounds have been rejected by a Holyrood committee.

The Equal Opportunities Committee voted against changes to the Marriage and Civil Partnership (Scotland) Bill which were aimed at enhancing protections for religious bodies and celebrants, potential foster carers and adoptive parents, and public authority workers who do not support same-sex marriage.

SNP MSP Richard Lyle proposed changes which would introduce a clause stating that a potential adoptive parent or foster carer's views on marriage cannot be taken into account during the fostering or adoption process. He said: "There is a very real danger that potential foster carers and adopters may be wrongly deemed homophobic, because of their opposition to same-sex marriage."

His proposal was rejected by the committee during its consideration of stage two amendments.

Committee member Marco Biagi said he would be concerned if a child who had been cared for by a same-sex couple was moved into a family who objected to the previous arrangements.

Health Secretary Alex Neil said: "It is already the case that views on same-sex marriage cannot disqualify anyone from becoming a foster carer or adoptive parent."